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18 January 2014

Collins Spanish Phrasebook & Dictionary 
Harper Collins
Publication Date
language learning

Whenever I go on holiday, I always prefer to be able to speak at least a few phrases. Even if it is just in a restaurant, to the hotel chamber maid or the bartender. Not only for practical reasons but I also think it is politeness and showing your interest to the locals.  Yes, it may be my very crude attempts to speak their language, but so far I only ever had positive experience.

This book is clearly designed with the holiday-maker in mind. It is light and small, ideal to fit in your bag or even jacket pocket.

At the beginning of the book, there is 1/2 page on pronunciation. I would like to have had a bit more on  pronunciation, but admittedly, this is not the main focus of this book, of course. 

Also at the beginning, a great 'everyday photo guide', divided into sections like 'getting around' 'shopping. Pictures of common signs are shown which you may encounter as a tourist (i.e. from motorways, restaurants, cashpoints), and also a lot of general information. 

The following chapters in the book are as follows: key talk, money, getting around, car, shopping, day life, nightlife, accommodation, different travellers (refers to children/special needs), difficulties (refers to emergencies / complaints), health, business, practical info, eating out, grammar, dictionary. 

Each chapter gives you key phrases (with pronunciation guide), and also information on the relevant topic in separate yellow boxes. I found these most useful. For example, in the topic of 'Getting Around', it talks about good bus services, reduced fares for trains etc. Or in the section about car hire, it gives some basic legal information on car hire in Spain. The information seems to be related only for tourists visiting Spain (Mainland or Balearics /  Canaries) - there are obviously many other Spanish speaking countries. 

Example (taken from page 34) Getting around / buses: 

I want to go….        quiero ir….
                             kye-ro eer

If you are going on a holiday to Spain, and your Spanish language knowledge does not extend to more than 'Hola' and ''Gracias' , than this this is a must buy. I would also recommend to read the book prior to arriving in the country. Not so much to prepare yourself, but so you can have a good idea where you find what info with which topic quickly and to get used to how the book is organised. Maybe read it in the plane on the way. Just don't leave it on the plane! Yes, this has been done and I shall not mention any names.